In preparation of Autism Awareness Month, I have created a video full of experiences, opportunities, and memories that we have created, shared and often agonized over…. Not to mention the prayers and loss of sleep??? Why go to all the trouble you may ask?? Because Kris and I believe that DESPITE his disabilities…,, he has many abilities. And we choose to focus on those!!! We have found that the more we focus on his strengths and the things he likes to do, the better compliant and happy he becomes…..
He has enjoyed experiences, I, in my own self pity and worried state of mind, and over protective mom status would have never allowed him to experience. Partly due to my lack of belief and mu need for control….. But as you will be able to see-
All my boy needed was a chance!!!!
A chance to have an opportunity to be like the other kids his age. The opportunity to experience life without the hindrance of mom in the background yelling directives, or holding his hand as he tried to participate.
Will needed to find his independance and mom needed to face her fears…. I think we have both done a good job…. The struggle remains but he has no qualms with letting me know…,albeit more often than not….
To see the short video of Wills accomplishments, click here
My hope and prayer for you as you view this video is to;
1. Motivate you to move past the “Awareness “ of Autism and more into the ACCEPTANCE of Autism.
2. Begin to fill your heart with empathy for others while finding a steadfast understanding and adoration for families living with Autism and other disabilities.
3. Create a desire within you to become more involved with families in need; through prayer and fasting, providing friendship to those feeling isolated or needing a listening ear. This age of technology makes it easy to send a quick text, Facebook message, or pin an inspirational quote. Or perhaps something more physical like running errands by picking up a few groceries for them when you run to the store, taking supper when the family is sick, or garage sale shopping for VHS tapes.(hint hint).. Any act of kindness will feel a void I promise….
4. Come to the realization that Autism DOES affect you.... It is affecting our entire nation…. You can no longer stick your head in the sand and pretend this epidemic “doesn’t affect my family”. The statistics are growing everyday. And you are guaranteed to be affected by this in the very near future if not already.
5. Lastly, as you watch the video- I pray that you can see the pure joy that radiates from our child despite his disability. Does his disability hinder him in ways? Yes!!! Do those hindrances often make life more difficult?? Most certainly. But can we imagine life without him or all the things that make him who he is? NO..… Because to us, Will is our 14 year old, 5’9 – 193 lb son, a 7th grader at Greenbrier Middle School, who loves girls (he is a teenager), loves to eat, and loves watching VHS tapes in fast forward. A boy who also has Autism, and is predominately nonverbal……, autism is NOT WHO he is or WHAT he is…. We have never let AUTISM define him…..
Autism is only an explanation used to describe his deficit areas, NOT an excuse for his behavior..
In closing, I want to remind you that we are not perfect… We don’t have all the answers, most days we rarely have any. Regardless of the titles behind our names we are human- just like you, secondly we are husband and wife just like many of you. And we are parents to three children, just like many of you….. The only difference is we have a child who has a disability……
But just like all parents, we live life the best we can, one day at a time, despite the snow and ice, the broken tailbone, the heat bill, and repeated trips to McDonald’s, etc. We seek God for direction, wisdom and protection for our selves and our family but most definitely for Will. We pray daily for infinite wisdom regarding Will’s future, and grace, peace and MERCY for whatever life and this journey called Autism throws are way..
But like most of you—- parenting is a minute by minute life and we just do the best we can.. We become discouraged, we get down and we too often feel like failures…. So if your reading this and you have found yourself in isolation- regardless of the reason, feeling like there is no hope. I encourage you to think back on those times you were an overcomer! The times you and your spouse overcame the trial!! The times your children are overcomers! Those are the times that will carry you through. Write those times and experiences down!!! Create a Joy Journal….., an Overcomer’s Manuel…. A Brandi’s Blessing Book, (you get the idea) and start writing those things down!!!! So when you feel like the world is closing in- you can stand tall and know in whom you have believed…..
YOU are an Overcomer…….
and if a little boy who at the age of three was told he would NEVER speak and have to be put in an institution can do it…..
SO CAN YOU…..
Blessings from our home to yours, Brandi